Picture Post

Been a few days since I posted some pics, and they’re building up on the computer, so it’s time to put some more up. Today we took a trip into Trencin to go shopping. I’m not a big shopper at home, and being in Europe doesn’t necessarily improve upon the experience. There’s just too much standing around involved, although clothes shopping is the worst, and there was none of that today, thank goodness. I do most of my gift shopping online, where I can poke around to find opinions about products and reviews. It’s hard for me to go into a store and be presented with a finite number of choices, then be forced to take the store owner’s word about the relative quality. But anyway.

Went into another bookstore. No, Brandon–didn’t find your book. Actually, I was frustrated by the organization of the store, so I had my wife go inquire about how it was arranged. She asked the clerk, and he said, “Of course it’s arranged. Over there are the novels, there are the travel books, the non-fiction’s over there and so forth.”

“What about within the novel section?” she asked. “How is it arranged there?”

“It isn’t.”

You read that right. It isn’t. All the novels are just sort of jumbled together however they happened to come off the truck. Westerns, romance, sci-fi, thrillers, mysteries–even works by the same author aren’t together. I. Am. Never. Going. Into. Another. Bookstore. In. Slovakia. Not until there’s a particular thing I want to buy, at least. Far too frustrating. Joshua, I know you don’t read my blog, but if you did–and you were over in Slovakia–and you spoke Slovak–I’d like to buy a ticket to hear you give the clerks a piece of your mind. Pass the word along, Brandon.

Watched The Magnificent Seven yesterday. This actually presents a good contrast to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, and not just because they both have Eli Wallach in them. Seven is a classic Western. it’s not trying to do anything different. Not trying to rock the boat. It succeeds by being an excellent rendition of a kind of movie that had already been done numerous times. Ugly is driven by twisting the classic formula any which way it could, turning things upside down. There are no real heroes in Ugly–morality is very mixed up in general. Not so in Seven. Sure, the good guy wears a black hat, but that’s about as genre bending as the movie gets. They’re both great Westerns, though they succeed in different ways.

(Of course, Seven itself is a remake of Seven Samurai, Kurosawa’s masterpiece. Studying the changes that were made to adapt the culture and conflict from Japan to Mexico and America would be an interesting exercise in and of itself.)

In any case, this contrast lead me to think about writing and creativity in general. It seems to me that the success artists have depends on how they utilize these two approaches: fidelity and infidelity, if you will. Sometimes you choose to remain faithful to the genre you’re writing in–but try to do the best job of that genre that you can. At others, you decide to depart from the genre and do something new and different. Most works end up being a mixture of these two approaches–or at least the worthwhile ones are. Thinking about it some more, I see the same principle at work in music (whether classical or modern). I’m no expert on painting, architecture or sculpure, but I imagine this extends to that, as well.

Not really sure what else to say about it. I don’t often go off on a tangent like this on my blog, so excuse me if I bored you. I just wanted to get some thoughts down on virtual paper.

In any case–on to the pictures.

The castle at night during the show. Kind of blurry–sorry. You try taking an action shot at night. It was Romans vs. Germanic tribes. There was a battle in Trencin between those two factions back in like 179 AD. Reenactment was quite entertaining.

DKC, TRC and DC at a Gothic castle that was originally built in the 1400s, then renovated to Rennaisance style, then to the English Tudor style today. It’s owned by three different people, so a third of it is a museum, a third is a hotel, and a third is . . . a perpetual work in progress.

DKC and DC relax at the spa town from a few days ago. The screaming would commence about an hour from when this picture was taken. Screaming only lasted for a half hour, but it was a very long half hour, indeed.

DKC and TRC stand in the entryway to the apartment DKC grew up in. I moved around a lot when I was little. I certainly never stayed in one place until I was 17. She did. I think that would be an eerie experience–to go back to a house you stayed so long in and now have it belong to someone else. It would be too depressing.

2 thoughts on “Picture Post”

  1. “All the novels are just sort of jumbled together however they happened to come off the truck.”
    This sounds like an remnant of attitudes formed while working under a Communist system. I wonder how many other places you find such inefficiency and lack of concern for customer needs over there? Seems like there’d be great opportunities for a competitor to gain an edge by opening an “alphabetized” bookshop right next door.
    Slovakia’s just full of business opportunities! ;>)

  2. Seven
    Along the line of being the same but different, try Samurai Seven, the anime remake of Seven Samurai. It has robots and spaceships but remains relatively faithful to the seven characters.

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